Archive: February, 2011
In the weather community this is the last day of the meteorological winter, and while the winter of 2010-11 was memorably snowy but not among the elite in terms of cold.
In an era of generally mild winters, officially in Philadelphia it was the fourth-coldest of the last 25. but it will go into the books as an unexceptional No. 45 on the all-time 137-year list.
The average temperature for the Dec. 1-Feb. 28 period is going to come in at 32.9 the way things look now, the lowest since the 32.7 of 2004.
You might recall that back on the night of Jan. 26, a winter storm with embedded "thundersnow" resulted in one of the region's biggest snows on record.
Nothing like that is going to happen tonight or perhaps this winter. Heavy rains are on the way, and a high-wind warning is in effect as our incredible winter takes a warmer turn.
Meanwhile, for old time's sake, check out this NASA story on thundersnow.
Under attack from the February sun and urbanization, the snow pack has flattened quickly, like a tire losing air.
Tomorrow morning may be the last opportunity for awhile to admire the remains of the glittering crystals and those uncanny tree shadows cast across the layers of white.
After a cold start, temperatures will head into the 40s in advance of a rather serious looking rainstorm.
Until this morning, we had forgotten that snow actually was white. (Yes, technically, it's color-less, but it looks white to us.)
The snows that fell in January, fortified with doses of ice, were tenacious. Some of us never got around to taking down the Christmas lights.
They stayed around long enough to get ugly, but that's not coming to happen this time.
Rumors popped up yesterday that Joe Bastardi, probably the most-recognizable name at perhaps the nation's most-recognizable private weather service, had left the company.
Accu-Weather is now confirming that it's true. After 30 years, their relationship evidently ended suddenly yesterday. We'll post details when they become available, but right now we know little about the circumstances.
The company's Justin Roberti says meteorologists Henry Margusity and Paul Pastelok will be taking over his duties. "I was as surprised as anybody," said Roberti.
The 6 inches measured officially overnight at National Park/Philadelphia International Airport places the winter of 2010-11 at No. 8 on the Philadelphia all-time list.
That bumped the seasonal total to 44.0, knocking out the legendary winter of 1957-58 from the Top 10.
We say legendary because it was characterized by a surprise snow in December, a paralyzing blizzard in February and an attack of heavy, wet snow at the spring equinox. The seasonal total was 41.8.
The final total hasn't been posted yet, but the 4.5 inches measured officially as of 1 a.m. places the winter of 2010-11 No. 11 on the Philadelphia all-time list.
That bumped the seasonal total to 42.5, knocking out the legendary winter of 1957-58 from the 10th spot, at 41.8.
We say legendary because it was characterized by a surprise snow in December, a paralyzing blizzard in February and an attack of heavy, wet snow at the spring equinox.
As our online story notes, the accumulation profile of tonight's storm will be the reverse of this morning's, with higher amounts to the south.
The National Weather Service snow map has a 5-inch zone just south of Wilmington and extending across South Jersey.
The weather service notes that the storm is a quick mover but has good, efficient snow dynamics with solid snow-growth potential and strong upper-level jet winds to give the storm a kick.
Just as the last of the homely, blackened piles of snow were oozing away, a fresh batch of snow is on the way.
A significant snow tonight is all but a certainty, and the National Weather Service has hoisted a winter-storm warning for Philadelphia and Delaware County and South Jersey.
The forecast is basically the same for the Pennsylvania suburban counties -- 2 to 4 inches of snow - but the "warning" criteria out that way is a little stiffer. The Accu-Weather forecast is similar.
At 3:47 p.m., the temperature officially reached 69 at Philadelphia International Airport, matching the record for a Feb. 18 set way back in 1890 and again in 1891.
So much for spring.
The weather around here is about to take another decidedly late-winter turn, and snow remains in play for early next week.